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Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Ian Rapoport for the NFL Network reports the Chicago Bears are not expected to place the franchise tag on free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery before the March 1 deadline. Meanwhile, league sources previously told Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports that they “anticipate” the Eagles “being in on” Jeffery should the 2013 Pro Bowler become accessible.

Put two and two together, and there are folks around the NFL who believe the Eagles will pursue Jeffery when free agency opens on March 9.

Yet while receiver is one of the Eagles’ two greatest needs this offseason, whether they should make a run at Jeffery and whether they can afford him might be two different answers. Getting another weapon for Carson Wentz seems like it will be the top priority in free agency, but doing so will not be cheap, and the club is up against the salary cap.

There’s little doubt the Eagles will reach out to Jeffery. Aside from the organization being known for always doing its due diligence with players, the 27-year-old is hands down the best option on the market. Over the 2013 and ’14 seasons, Jeffery averaged 87 receptions, 1,277 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per year. He’s dealt with injuries and a terrible supporting cast in the two years since, yet still managed to go over 800 yards receiving in each.

Jeffery has some baggage, specifically the four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2016. Despite everything, only nine active players are averaging more than his 72.2 yards per game, and only 10 better than 15.0 yards per reception. The talent is undeniable, and with a quarterback of Wentz’s caliber throwing him the football, the sky is the limit.

The Eagles absolutely should pursue Jeffery. Actually signing him is where this begins to get tricky.

For starters, the Eagles are currently sitting at an estimated $8.69 million under the cap, according to OverTheCap.com. Only three teams are in worse shape. There may be more moves to free up space in the coming days, which will help, although even if they get that figure closer to $25 million through a series of trades and releases, the numbers are tight.

Jeffery collected $14.6 million under the franchise tag in ’16, and while he might not see quite that much annually on his next contract, it’s not out of line with expectations. Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant are all making $14 million or more per season. Jeffery may not have the body of work of those players, but as the top receiver available, the market will value him and be willing to pay as such.

That $25 million the Eagles can theoretically free up might be the best case scenario. It likely won’t be that, which means signing Jeffery would take up practically all of their cap space for ’17. Obviously, there are ways to structure a contract to push money into future years, and the case could be made the Eagles don’t need to sign any other free agents.

No matter how you slice it, there are some logistical concerns here. Until the Eagles shed some of those contracts and we can see what they’re working with, it’s difficult to envision how they win a bidding war against suitors with upwards of $50, $60, even $70 million to spend.

It’s not so much a question of interest for the Eagles. It’s whether or not signing Jeffery is realistic in the first place.

Rating the Rumor: We’ll see

In sign of football's true return to Philly, fans at Linc fought

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In sign of football's true return to Philly, fans at Linc fought

Like the first foliage turning orange, yellow, and red in the fall, grown men congregating in large groups to consume alcoholic beverages and watch sport signifies the football season has finally returned.

There was proof of the NFL returning in spades on Thursday night when a couple of fans at the Eagles game against the Buffalo Bills just wanted to get some crab fries at the Linc, maybe a beer as well, and instead wound up in a confrontation with people of similar ilk.

Punches were thrown -- if not punches, slaps that were intended to be punches. Fries were spilled.

And football went on.

Also of note: the one man is wearing a DELCO IRISH shirt.

@barstoolsports first #Eagles home #Fight of the year #Preseason #Nfl #EaglesVsBills #BirdGang #BillsMafia

A post shared by Keith Dotegowski (@keithdote) on

Watch: Ben Simmons dominated some amateurs in Australia, barely tried and finished with 34 points

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Watch: Ben Simmons dominated some amateurs in Australia, barely tried and finished with 34 points

Footage of Ben Simmons playing in a basketball game in Australia has been making the rounds and the Sixers rookie showed off some hops with a couple of nice dunks.

In addition to seeing Simmons looking healthy on the court making players attempting to guard him look foolish, one of the underrated aspects of the video is hearing Australian newscasters describe the game.

The game is described as a "social match" which seems to me like a glorified pickup game featuring a bunch of amateurs. Simmons clearly outclasses everyone on the court. It seems as if Simmons was simply filling in as a favor to a friend.

Here's how the DailyMail described Ben dominating:

From slam dunks to look-away passes and long range shots it was as if his opponents didn't exist as Simmons totaled 34 points.

'He didn't try until the last quarter and then scored like 15 in a row and dunked on two blokes... I've never seen anything like it,' one spectator told the Herald Sun.

You can enjoy two local newscasts talking about the big event below.